A 20-year-old Indian girl in the UAE has been diagnosed with a rare disease, leaving her on ventilator support for the last six months, according to a media report. Neethu Shaji Panikker, who was visiting her husband in Sharjah, was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis in March, Khaleej Times reported on Saturday.
The disease refers to a group of conditions that occur when the immune system attacks healthy brain cells, leading to inflammation of the brain.
Neethu was referred to the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Abu Dhabi as her condition worsened. By March 27, Neethu was on the ventilator and has been there ever since.
Neethu's mother Lalitha said, "I worked odd, menial jobs to raise my kids after coming to the UAE 10 years ago. My daughter was married in December last year to Jithin, who works in Sharjah. She came to the UAE on a visit visa in late January and got ill by March 17."
Lalitha, an employee at a tailoring shop, said she had a hard time raising her two kids after her husband abandoned them.
"The doctors at the hospital have done so much for us. I can never stop thanking them. How much I thank them, it will not be enough," Lalitha said.
Treatment for autoimmune encephalitis may involve intravenous immunosuppressive therapy and tumour removal when necessary. Early treatment decreases the likelihood of long-term complications, speedy recovery and reduces the risk of recurrence.